Saudi Arabia has exhausted its Patriot air defense missile in fight against Iran-backed Houthis – WSJ
Saudi Arabia is seeking “hundreds of other” missile shells for its Patriot air defense systems. Supplied by the United States, the weapon systems are used to protect the country against drone and missile assaults by Iranian-backed Houthi troops based in Yemen, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Riyadh recently asked to purchase additional advanced medium-range AIM-120 air-to-air missiles, or AMRAAMs, to bolster its fighter jets against these threats, underscoring the scale of the challenges it faces.
In addition, Saudi Arabia’s arsenal of Patriot missiles, which are used to intercept airborne attacks, have been depleted considerably.
Saudi’s request for more Patriot missiles is expected to be officially approved by the United States. It comes as the Kingdom fears that drone and missile assaults on such a large scale could result in significant loss of life or damage important oil infrastructure.
A swarm of missiles and drones managed to bypass Saudi air defenses in 2019, temporarily wiping out half of the kingdom’s oil production. Houthi fighters took responsibility for the strikes, but the United States and Saudi Arabia allege Iran, which is associated with the Houthis, was behind.
According to the WSJ, the country was targeted by drones more than 50 times in October and November and was hit by more than 20 ballistic missiles during the same period.
The Saudis were also looking to the Gulf and European allies to restock their supplies of Patriot missiles, according to anonymous US sources cited in the same article. However, under these circumstances, the transfer of arms to the Saudis would still require the authorization of the United States.
“The United States is firmly committed to assisting Saudi Arabia’s territorial defense, including against missiles and drones launched into Yemen by Iranian-backed Houthi militants,” a senior administration official said. Biden. “We are working closely with Saudi Arabia and other partners to make sure there are no gaps in coverage.”
Shortly after the Houthis took control of Sana’a, Saudi Arabia launched a military offensive in Yemen in support of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Throughout the nearly seven-year conflict, both sides have been accused of human rights violations and crimes.
While the United States initially supported the Saudi-led assault with “logistical and intelligence support,” Biden said in February that the United States would no longer support any “offensive operations” in Yemen. The administration said it would continue to support the kingdom’s defense capability.
Patriot Air Defense Systems
Patriot (MIM-104) is an all-weather long-range air defense system designed to combat tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft.
Patriot has foiled more than 150 ballistic missiles in combat operations around the world since January 2015, with more than 90 of those interceptions involving low-cost surface-to-air missiles. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin manufacture these weapons.
Over 240 Patriot fire units have been produced by Raytheon Missiles & Defense and delivered to customers in 17 countries. A track-via-missile (TVM) guidance system is installed on the Patriot missile. The mobile engagement control center sends mid-point correction instructions to the guidance system.
The missile has a range of 70 kilometers and a maximum altitude of over 24 kilometers. The shortest and maximum flight times are less than nine seconds and three and a half minutes, respectively.
During the 2003 Iraq War, US forces stationed Patriot missile systems. The systems were stationed in Kuwait and used the new PAC-3 missiles and improved missiles to destroy a number of hostile surface-to-surface missiles.
After the May 2021 conflict in Gaza, Israel asked the United States to authorize a $ 1 billion replenishment for the Iron Dome air defense system, which the House of Representatives passed in September 2021.
According to a Congressional Research Service report last year, Israel had received $ 1.65 billion for Iron Dome through 2020, making it the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign aid since World War II.
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, said earlier: “The funding that is provided to continues and deepens the support. The passage of the law underscores bipartisan and bicameral support for Israel in Congress. Because Israel’s security is vital to America’s security, security assistance to Israel is essential.
The Iron Dome air defense system was developed by Israeli defense companies Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries. The initial funding for this weapon system was provided by the Jewish country itself. Currently, the United States is helping to develop and maintain this program.
President Joe Biden earlier promised to resupply Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense systems, which were deployed in May to intercept rockets fired from Gaza into the Jewish state. During a visit to the region to strengthen an Israel-Hamas ceasefire established on May 21, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also reaffirmed US support for Israel.